SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – The Union Catholic High School varsity baseball team has been the thorn in the side of New Providence.
For the third time this season, the Vikings defeated the Pioneers, 4-1, on Saturday in the first round of the Union County Tournament.
“I think we faced a very good team, I really do,” New Providence head coach Chris Brodeur said. “I think we fought, that’s a credit to the kids that I have. Hats off to them. They’re pitcher [Ryan Kahn) was on the game today and threw a great game.”
Kahn held the Pioneers in check for most of the game, allowing a run on seven hits over seven innings of work. However, New Providence had opportunities with runners on base in all but two innings.
New Providence’s best opportunities came in the fifth and sixth innings. The Pioneers loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth on two singles and a hit batsman, however Bryan Sherman grounded out to end the frame.
In the sixth, New Providence strung three hits together, including a double. However, after David Gelormini scored on Matt Timpone’s RBI single, Kahn recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.
Despite scoring a run in the inning, Brodeur hoped for more in the sixth, but knows it was tough to go up against Kahn late in the game.
“You have to take what you can get,” he said. “With a guy like that on the hill, he’s going to give you strike-strike-strike and he’s going to throw the curveball. You have to be able to fight that.”
Once the Pioneers realized hits and runs were going to be hard to come by off Kahn, they tried to manufacture their own support. Brodeur called for a suicide squeeze in the sixth, but the play was wasted on a foul ball. In the seventh, Jeff Doran tried to lead off the inning with a bunt single, but he was thrown out on a close play at first.
Brodeur said his team is not afraid to try unconventional plays to get on and score, unfortunately it didn’t work out for the Pioneers on Saturday.
“We’re not afraid to do things that are a little bit off the regular book,” Brodeur said. “We’re going to try something to see if it could work.”
Union Catholic scored all of their runs in the middle of the game. Each Viking that scored reached base via a walk. New Providence starter David Gelormini threw 4.1 innings, allowing all four UC runs, dropping to 1-4 on the season.
The Pioneers are back in action on Monday when they visit Watchung Hills.